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Day 19 – Anticucho

October 29, 2010

Location: Ica and Lima, Peru

Date: Friday, October 29, 2010

Technically, I’ve returned to Lima to hang out with Doug and Karem, two friends from California. Technically, they’ve come to Peru to visit family. In reality, what we’ve all come to Lima for is to eat. Sure, we’ll being hanging out with family and friends and there’ll be some shopping and maybe some sightseeing, but all those will be preludes or accompaniments to food. Lots and lots of good Peruvian food. Far as I can tell, Lima has a richer culinary scene than any other South American city (probably in part because of the country’s rich farmland and a history of being the center of trade on the continent).

Before getting to the good stuff, though, I had to survive a surprisingly agonizing bus ride from Ica. I switched seats so a grandma and grandson could sit next to each other and ended up in a seat facing a wall. This is only slightly less boring than you might think. At one point, a movie about the Mongols came on (title: “Mongol”) and grandma leaned over the aisle, tapped me on the shoulder, pointed at the TV and repeatedly laughed the word “cousins” at me. “Si, abuelita, soy Mongol.”

A restless nap got me the rest of the way to Lima. I awoke feeling like I’d survived a 20-hour trans-dateline flight. A quick goodbye to Heather and Marie (off to Ecuador) and 50 failed attempts at using a Peruvian pay phone later, Doug and Karem walked into the bus terminal and—after a round of hugs—whisked me off to Karem’s family’s condo.

There I got my first real taste of Peru: a tia-made bowl of homemade rice and beef in a light, tomato sauce. It’s no stretch to say it was the best piece of meat I’d eaten in Peru. I ate it so quickly, I couldn’t bother with a picture.

After chatting with the family (broken Spanish), settling in, and cleaning up, it was time for dinner. More food.

We set off to Barrancas, a neighborhood in Lima known for its restaurants and nightlife. A waiter quickly seated us at Tio Marios, a place famous for its anticucho. Anticucho is skewered, barbequed cow heart. It tastes like very rich beef with a hearty, iron finish. It’s beef for beef lovers.

In addition, we ordered pansita (tripe), rachi (stomach), choclo (giant, mutant corn), papas (boiled, yellow potatoes), and chichi morrada (one of my favorites). None could compare to the cow heart.

 

 

For dessert we dipped warm picarones–a rustic donut made of sweet potato and squash flour with a touch of anis—in an, as yet, unidentified special syrup.

To walk it off, we crossed el Puente de los Suspiros (“The Bridge of Sighs”), a spot famous to Peruvian lovers and the subject of many a Peruvian love song. Standing on an ocean side lookout, you can hear diners chatting and clattering silverware in the restaurants in the gulch below the famed bridge.

Thus ended the opening salvo in what cannot be described as anything other than a full-on culinary assault on Lima. God help us, our merry band of foodies. We will have the gastric time of our lives or die trying.

Let the games begin.

GALLERY: Click through to see Mervyn with his eye on the prize, post-dinner pics with Doug and Karem at a local dance venue.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Doris permalink
    November 7, 2010 9:20 pm

    Sigh…..estoy celosa. The syrup is mainly brown sugar, molasses and some spices like anise and cloves.

    • November 10, 2010 2:02 pm

      Sounds so simple. And yet. . .

      The syrup is good because it’s not too sweet. I think just uttering the words “not too sweet” means I am no longer 8 years old. Sad, but I’ll deal.

  2. Michelle permalink
    November 7, 2010 10:17 pm

    Ditto – I better be invited on the next Peru trip!

    • November 10, 2010 2:05 pm

      There will be a “next Peru” trip. Count on it. I feel like I could spend three months here and not cover everything there’s so much to do. Between the history, the food, and the different environments (jungle, mountains, desert, beach) you could probably need to be here a year to do the country justice.

  3. November 9, 2010 11:03 pm

    Wow…..mouth watering…..!!

    But….still no chunos? The N is the one with the little wavy line over it, so you say it like “ny”.

    Maybe you can wait until you get to La Paz – you ARE going to La Paz, right? They’re very much an altiplano dish – we had good ones in Puno, or was it Juliaca? Anyhow, give them a try – and then at the open market, find a lady selling them (Chunos negroes, please) and buy 1/4 kilo for me, please.

    🙂

    • November 10, 2010 2:12 pm

      Posts are a bit behind. I actually in La Paz. I will find a market and buy some chunos negroes. This should be easy because I think I’m going to be here for almost a week.

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